Danny Doherty and William Fleming

Danny Doherty and William Fleming grew up in Derry. They were from Republican families and each had relatives that were imprisoned at one time or another for their political ideals and paramilitary activities. They followed in their families’ footsteps and each joined Na Fianna Éireann at a young age, before funneling into the Derry Brigade as soon as they were able.

Each man knew what the cost might be. They knew their membership in the IRA could land them in prison or in the grave but they felt it was worth the risk. Danny Doherty was a veteran with six years of active service in the Derry Brigade but Willie Fleming was younger and greener with only two years under his belt when the two men were killed (or overkilled) in a hail of gunfire on this day in 1984.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The death of Sheena Fagan Campbell

Sheena Fagan Campbell was an activist, a law student, and a rising star in the Sinn Fein hierarchy. She was a single mother in Belfast who was determined to provide for her young child and at the time of her murder, she was engaged to be married. Sheena stayed on the legal, political side of the Troubles and was not a member of the Irish Republican Army but she did know many who were. The young law students’ growing popularity in Republican circles brought her to the attention of the police, the British Army and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a deadly Loyalist paramilitary group. The UVF insisted that Campbell was a member of the IRA and on this day in 1992, they executed her very publicly in a hotel bar in Belfast.

Continue reading

Oakland — lightandthunder

Sometimes I have to write about places closer to home, or people as the case may be. When I do, I use a different blog – and today I thought to share.

The city of Oakland has a long history of civil unrest, political activism, militant citizen groups, edgy art, underground activities, and a blatant distrust for the authorities. This is not without reason. It also has a history of corrupt city leaders, murder, criminal enterprise, police brutality, city-sponsored displacement and gentrification, and swift vigilante justice. This […]

via Oakland — lightandthunder

O’Connor Family Mystery

On June 30th, 1890 a horrible tragedy struck the O’Connor family in County Dublin. John O’Connor  was a well-known journalist and Nationalist politician. He was the M.P. of West Wicklow and a family man who had a loving wife and five young children. This seemingly adoring family was torn apart when almost all of them were fatally poisoned. Only John O’Connor and one of his daughters survived.

Continue reading

The Mighty Kathleen Lynn

Kathleen Lynn was an anomaly among women at the turn of the century in Ireland. She was extremely well educated, which was very rare for females at the time, and she was a doctor – not a nurse – which was an incredibly unusual profession for a woman of that era. She faced discrimination and difficulty in the field for many years due to her gender and it made her a strong suffragist and a very tough woman.

Continue reading

Apologies and news

I apologize dear readers, it has been some time since I’ve posted here. It is not for lack of will – I get an immense amount of joy from this blog, but life has gotten in the way for a minute. Or rather, death has.

I’ve been hit with a double dose of tragedy over the last couple of weeks and it has taken a toll on my brain and my free time. I promise to return to my regularly scheduled program as soon as I’m able to stop and think for a minute. There’s a post or five brewing in my head I promise – and I look forward to getting them out soon.

In the meantime, I will tease you with a little news – there’s a book coming. It’s a silly little thing that I’m self-publishing but it brings me a lot of joy. It’s a trade paperback with about 150 pages and is full of some expanded and favorite posts, quirky facts, Irish travel gems, and more. It features a lot of women and some of the lesser known players in Irish History and has a wonderful title too – but it’s going to be about a month before I can get it finished and released. I just wanted you to know that I haven’t been completely idle in these trying times.

More history posts and current tidbits soon I promise.

Squeeze your loved ones a lot and keep them close.

Romper Room Murder

For many people a romper room is a play room full of games and toys or a television show that they grew up watching. It evokes a carefree and silly time in childhood that is full of play, puppets, and joy. For others, particularly in the North of Ireland during the Troubles, a romper room is a place of absolute horror, torture, and death – a room that is akin to a slaughterhouse or a snuff film set. These romper rooms were usually derelict homes or businesses where drinking, dancing, torture, and killing could occur without much fear of discovery or interference. One of the more brutal murders of that era took place in a UDA-controlled romper room in the Sandy Row area of Belfast, 41 years ago today. The victim’s name was Ann Ogilby and her killers were all female members of the UDA (Ulster Defence Association). It wasn’t really a political killing even though the murderous women involved were loyalist paramilitaries – it was more of a jealous feud that ended in Ann’s horrific torture and savage beating death. The story was so repulsive and put such a spotlight on the women’s group that it resulted in the total dissolution of their unit.

Continue reading